Malcolm OngProduct @ SCMP, Lyft, Co-founder @ Skillshare
Bio

SVP Product @ SCMP (Alibaba), Co-founder @ Skillshare | X: Product & Growth @ Lyft, EIR @ 500 Startups, OMGPOP (acq. Zynga), Razorfish (acq. Publicis), IBM



Recent Answers


I would not go with a "clone in a box" solution, but I definitely would use ready-to-use services that are out there to build what you need while allowing some level of customization.

For example, you can use tools like Wordpress (CMS), or Shopify (e-commerce), or other similar tools to build your marketplace, depending on your needs. This will allow you to get your idea up-and-running quickly with little upfront investment.

After you've proven that your business idea works, then - and only then - you can go back and invest in creating a more custom solution.


I've managed teams of all sizes, both in-house and offshore; I know that there's both a science and an art when it comes to motivating your team.

Generally speaking, for any team member (offshore or otherwise), it's always good to rally your team around a common mission and goal. If your team believes in what you're trying to accomplish, then they would naturally put in more effort into their work.

In addition to that, it's always good to make sure that people are working on aspects of the project that are interesting to them, giving them enough ownership or autonomy to voice their own opinions, and celebrating small wins and milestones.

Happy to discuss more if you'd like to schedule a call.


I've raised VC capital, including seed rounds, myself as well as for other companies. Happy to answer any specific questions you may have about it, including both the science and the art behind fundraising.


I think one skill that every entrepreneur should learn is how to be resourceful and get things done. Even if you don't have many resources, it's possible to start prototyping and creating your first versions of a product. The barrier of entry to most businesses and industries are extremely low these days.

Try to leverage as many open source or off-the-shelf services to get started. Many of these are free or low-cost for smaller scale products.

You can also try to recruit and find others who believe in your mission and goals; many times, this can be done for equity (without cash).


The best way to learn how to become an entrepreneur is, of course, to just start. When you're forcing yourself to learn everything that's necessary to get a business idea up-and-running, you will learn different parts of both your specific business as well as entrepreneurship in general.

Aside from that, you can also work with other entrepreneurs. I find that roles that allow you to wear many hats, and work directly with founders and/or CEO's are best because it exposes you to as many parts of entrepreneurship as possible, and challenges you in many different ways quickly.

Now, for later-stage companies, a "different" type of entrepreneur is necessary. For this, I would try to work at later-stage startups (on the leadership team if you can) to learn the ropes on how things are done at scale and with a large organization.


I would consider convertible equity (not debt) for smaller / Seed rounds. They're generally simple and efficient.

If you decide on convertible, I would use something like 500 Startups' KISS docs: http://500.co/kiss/

See more info here: http://venturehacks.com/articles/debt-or-equity


I am one of the co-founders of Skillshare, which is in this business (though not for finance and trading areas).

Your question is a bit vague, so it depends on a lot of specifics. How are these classes "delivered"? Who are your target customers? Are you looking to be more of a content provider, or a platform, or..?

Depending on the specifics, you could either start your own site, and host your courses there.. or simply distribute and syndicate your content elsewhere.

Happy to help if I can if you want to schedule a call.


Without knowing specific metrics, I would guess: Draw Something, Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Farmville, and many more


I've worked on a few different matching / recommendation algorithms, and to some extent, we did exactly this at Skillshare.

For both "best match" during a search, as well as the default or auto-match, it's all about relevance.. there shouldn't really be a different goal for each.

If I'm searching for a specific course or subject, you should filter by that category.. then use things in the student's profile (e.g. major, year / age-range, etc) to determine best relevancy on the tutor side.

Without specifics, then you could at least use more general inputs, like location (in-person tutoring?) and time zone, to determine relevancy.

Beyond these, I would offer a filter / sort based on "new" or "featured" (curated) vs. "popular" or "highest rated" .. but use your internal algorithm (and UX design) to tweak whatever you want.

Happy to help and discuss in more detail based on the specifics of your business.


Marketing and customer acquisition usually involves experimenting with various channels, tweaking & iterating, and doubling down on the ones that perform. You essentially want to be where your target customers "live."

On a high level, your potential channels would be:
- Content Marketing & Social Media (e.g. writing blog posts)
- Paid Ads (Google, Facebook, Twitter)
- PR (get written in startup publications, Product Hunt)
- Partnerships (partner with startups, investors, or accelerators)
- Referral program
- other places where entrepreneurs "live" (forums, communities)

Finally, not exactly an acquisition channel, but I believe branding and community go a long way.

Happy to chat and help in more detail with the specifics on your business.


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